MPLS And The Data Center
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MPLS And The Data Center Adrian Farrel Old Dog Consulting / Juniper Networks [email protected] [email protected] Agenda. What do I mean by “Data Center”? Design goals and requirements Handling mobility within the data center Connectivity between data center sites

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MPLS And The Data CenterAdrian FarrelOld Dog Consulting / Juniper [email protected]



  • What do I mean by “Data Center”?

  • Design goals and requirements

  • Handling mobility within the data center

  • Connectivity between data center sites

  • Can MPLS add value?

Everyone s data center is different

Everyone’s Data Center is Different



  • There are some common fundamental concepts

    • Racks of servers

    • VMs hosted on blades

    • VMs connected

      • On server

      • In rack

      • In DC

      • In other DCs

    • Connectivity to the externalservices

IP/MPLS Network






Top of Rack Switch






VMs on Server Blades

VM-based Appliances

Design goals

Design Goals

  • Provide separate logical tenant networks in Data Center over common IP physical infrastructure

    • Design Goal: 100K tenants, 10M Virtual Machines (VMs)

  • Need a data plane encapsulation

    • Examples exist

      • Virtual Extensible Local Area Networks (VXLAN)

      • Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE)

  • Discovery is needed

    • Data plane learning seems popular

    • ARP doesn’t scale and needs to be suppressed

    • Maybe the control plane can help

  • A control plane is also required

    • Static configuration is a solution (Hypervisor with SDN?)

    • A control plane can make life a lot easier

Multi tenancy requirements

Multi-Tenancy : Requirements

  • Multi-tenancy has become a core requirement of data centers

    • Including for Virtualized Machines (VMs) and VM multi-tenancy

    • It prooves a real stretch

  • Three key requirements needed to support multi-tenancy are

    • Traffic isolation

    • Address independence

    • Fully flexible VM placement and migration

  • IETF’s NVO3 WG considers approaches to multi-tenancy that reside at the  network layer rather than using traditional isolation (e.g., VLANs)

    • An overlay model to interconnect VMs distributed across a data center

  • We already have network layer overlay solutions

    • More about this later



  • Virtual Machines need to be moved between blades

    • How often?

      • Dynamic load balancing

      • Planned service

      • Failure recovery

    • How much?

      • Blades, servers, racks

    • How seamless?

      • Application re-start

      • Packet loss

      • Hitless

  • Challenges are recovery/preservation of connectivity

    • VMs need to preserve identity

      • L2 or L3?

    • Need rapid location discovery/advertisement

Inter data center connectivity

Inter Data Center Connectivity

  • Many reasons for connectivity

    • Applications in different DCs need to talk

    • VMs may be gathered into VPNs (virtual VPNs?)

    • One application’s data might be stored in anther DC

    • Stored data has to be synched between DCs

  • Connectivity between DC sites is like VPN connectivity

    • Except it may be “tunnelling” virtual VPN connectivity

  • And, of course, connectivity to the outside world

What do we mean by mpls

What do we Mean by MPLS?

  • Odd time and place to be asking this question

  • MPLS offers a versatile encapsulation technique

    • Small headers

    • Nested encapsulation

    • Simple forwarding

    • Special meaning labels

  • MPLS provides a range of control plane protocols

    • These have different applicabilities

    • Some are more complex than others

  • Supports static configuration

The e vpn


  • Designed for scalability and ease of deployment

    • Provider Edge (PE) can be in ToR switch and/or Hypervisor

    • Operator defined networks – mesh, hub & spoke, extranets, etc

    • Control plane learning using BGP

    • VM Mobility – all PEs know VM’s E-VPN location

    • VPN and Virtual LAN auto-discovery

    • ARP flood suppression

    • Control-plane scaling using Route Reflectors, RT Constrain, ESI, MAC aggregation

      • Control & data plane traffic for VPNs only sent to PE with active VPN members

      • Scalable fast convergence using Block MAC address withdrawal

      • Support for MAC prefixes (e.g., default MAC route to external DC)

    • Broadcast & Multicast traffic over multicast trees or ingress replication

    • Active/active multi-homing

      • CE sees LAG, PEs see Ethernet Segment (set of attachments to same CE)

    • 4B tenant VPNs, 4B virtual LANs per tenant VPN

Mpls e vpn routes


  • MAC Advertisement Route

    • Distributes MAC & IP address to PE & MPLS label binding

  • Per EVI Ethernet AD Route

    • Distributes Ethernet Segment to PE & MPLS label binding

    • Used in active/active multi-homing

  • Both carry a 24 bit MPLS label field

  • Use of MPLS label is very similar to VNID but supports local significance

  • Distribute VNID in MPLS label field

    • Either global or local significance

    • Local significance allows it to represent EVI, Port, MAC address, or MAC address range

  • Data plane encapsulation specified using Tunnel Encapsulation attribute (RFC 5512)

    • Distributed with both of the above routes

E vpn is encapsulation agnostic

E-VPN is Encapsulation Agnostic

  • E-VPN Instance can support multiple data plane encapsulations (MPLS, VXLAN, NVGRE, etc.)

    • MPLS encapsulation is just one option

  • Encapsulations advertised in BGP, ingress uses encapsulation supported by egress

    • This use of BGP is not complicated

  • Broadcast & multicast use encapsulation-specific shared trees

  • Allows interoperability with existing E-VPN & L3VPN deployments

    • This makes inter-DC really easy

Is mpls the answer

Is MPLS The Answer?

  • What was the question?

  • Do we need another control plane protocol?

    • Why can’t we use what we already have?

    • Frankly, BGP is not that hard and does what we need

  • Can we integrate the DC with the outside world?

    • Gateways, tunnelling and encapsulation are always possible

    • Protocol gateways are a bit of a mess

    • E-VPN and L3VPN connectivity just works

  • Do we need another L2 encapsulation?

    • There are plenty available, just pick your favorite

  • This is an MPLS conference



[email protected]

[email protected]

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